As I start my own new year, I've been thinking about the concept of truth.
What it is.
What it means.
Whatever our backgrounds, from birth, we are given a set of beliefs and perceptual biases that we are told are true. Most are taught never to question them. But, given that these beliefs often conflict, can they all be true?
The translation of the words in the above image is, "The Truth shall set you free." Unfortunately, "truth" is most often applied in matters of religion and politics... aspects of life that keep most people in physical, mental and/or emotional bondage rather than free.
Of course, what has been believed, written, said, done in the past may really have occurred, but, as to the truth of these things, I contend there can only be faith, belief, opinions or perceptions about them, if you or I have not actually experienced these things ourselves.
I've come to the conclusion that truth is really quite simple once you strip it down to its essence. The "plain truth" is that "truth" is only meant to refer to the fact of what is happening right now in this moment. I am writing these words. You are reading these words. That is really happening. That is true.
But, once the moment has passed, beyond that simple truth one begins to indulge in opinion, interpretation, faith and/or belief. "I don't think he's correct." "What was he implying?" "What does he really mean?" "How do those words fit in with my perceptual bias?"
Even seeing something may not be the truth of the matter. Supposedly, the Native Americans did not see the ships of the first visitors to their shores because, if what science tells us is correct, the mind sees only what it is prepared to see and their premature cognitive commitment did not include the concept of ships. Misperception continues to exist today with erroneous eye-witness accounts of what people believe they have seen, when compared to a camera capturing the same event.
Moreover, if you've ever served on a jury, it becomes quite evident that there are at least two sides to every event. Yet, the jury is to be guided by "facts" to come to a verdict. But, these "facts" are interpretations of something the jury members have not themselves experienced. So, they use the perceptions and the biases of their own experiences to form an opinion on these "facts" in order to make a decision as to what is "true." However, we know that convicted persons are sometimes exonerated, because the "facts" were incorrectly interpreted. They were not true.
The point I am trying to make is that...and it is just my opinion..., stripped down to our own essences, each of us is merely the experiencer of his/her own experiences. And, if we limit ourselves only to what we have been given, we may be limiting our possibilities to expand our experiences and develop our own sense of discernment, our own sense of empathy for others and the pursuit of a truth about the meaning of our existence that makes sense to us.
What make sense to me is that true freedom comes with the awareness of and appreciation for what is happening in each moment of our lives.
But, enough of my musing.
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